Loud and proud

Military culture will undergo a quiet transformation today, as some of the estimated 49,000 gay troops on active duty will be allowed to come forward publicly when the 18-year-old law barring gays from serving openly goes away.

An exhaustive Pentagon report on the effects of lifting the ban recommended strictly prohibiting any special bathroom, berthing or billeting assignments based on sexual orientation, even on ships and in other forward-deployed settings.

The Defense Department is not planning any public events to observe the change, which Congress approved in December.  But for many gay troops, the milestone will permanently alter the way they interact with their co-workers.

“It will mean when people ask me what I did this weekend, I can actually tell them,” said Marine Capt. Sarah Pezzat, who works at the Pentagon and lives with a woman whom she plans to marry in the District of Columbia in October.

Others say repeal won’t change their lives at all. The 2011 edition of the annual Military Times Poll shows that more than 61 percent of the 1,019 active-duty respondents believe repeal will have little or no effect on their day-to-day operations and missions, while just 12 percent think repeal will have a major impact.

Similarly, 57 percent said repeal will have no affect on them as individuals. The percentage of service members who support allowing gays to serve openly also reached its highest level in all services since the Military Times Poll began asking the question. source – Marine Corps Times